Believer: between Ikhlas (sincerity) and Riya (show off) 2
In the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
"And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allaah, making religion purely for Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).." Q98:5
Ibn Taymiyah said: 'Ibadah (worship) is a comprehensive word which includes all words and deeds that Allaah loves and is pleased with, both outward and inward.
What Allaah loves! This is a strong and an important phrase. Indeed Allaah loves that all deeds done should be aimed at seeking for His pleasure Alone. The place of determining the legitimacy of deeds is the heart and not just what people see but what remains a secret between a servant and his Lord (Allaah).
All acts of 'Ibadah (worship) can only be acceptable by Allaah if they are done sincerely for Him Alone and they are consistent with the standard set by the Sunnah of the Prophet of Islam. Undoubtedly, these two inseparable criteria are the foundation of all deeds worth accepting.
Allaah will not accept any deed unless it is done purely and sincerely for Him Alone, with no partners or associate. The Prophet (Pbuh) emphasised on this in an authentic narration recorded by Imam An-Nasa'i.
Ibn Taymiyah further said that scholars agreed that the "place of the niyyah (intention)" is the heart or the conscience and is not the tongue. If the statement of Ibn Taymiyah is understood, then safe to say that the burden of all deeds lies in the heart that harbors sincerity or lack of it.
Before doing anything, a believer must ensure that it is done purely for the sake of Allaah Alone and not for fame nor fortune and if there is failure in achieving this then the guilt of a major shirk or a minor shirk may apply.
Ikhlas (sincerity) cannot coexist in a heart that yearns for praises and commendation. It needs a fertile and barren heart that is seeking for praise and commendation of Allaah Alone and not of the creation.
A sincere servant is one who strives against himself until he is free from taking effect from the praises and commendation of people and focuses on Allaah Alone. Indeed concealing of worship and not making a display of it is a vital step to attaining sincerity.
If people praise him that is not his objective so it doesn't change his resolve and when people condemn him for representing the truth, it does not weaken his resolve. In both situations he is more concerned about the pleasure of Allaah.
Below are examples from the salaf with regards sincerity.
Ya'qoob al-Makfoof said: "The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds just like he hides his evil deeds."
Hawshab used to cry and say: "My name has reached the large masjid (meaning, the people will know who I am)."
Ibraheem bin Adham said: "The one who loves fame is not truthful to Allaah."
One of the salafs (pious predecessors) said: "Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity. When a person abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified. "
Sahl bin Abdullah said: "There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than achieving sincerity. How many times have I tried to remove the inclination to show off from my heart except that it sprouted in a different color."
Abu Sulaiman ad-Daarini said: "Glad tidings for the one who took a single step desiring nothing but the face of Allaah by it."
The one that wants to reach his destination with Allaah well pleased with him should try as much as possible to hide his good deeds for it is closer to sincerity and wards off the chances of showing off.
The true successful believers are those that monitor their souls at each time and strive to attain sincerity.
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